By Kimberly Dalbert
March is Women’s History Month. A national celebration made to recognize not only the achievements made by women but also the inequalities that women have faced and still encounter today. According to a study done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 13 percent of the engineering industry , 4.4 percent of firefighters, and 1.4 percent of the auto-mechanics fields. ACCENT spoke with three students in STEM related career paths to hear about their experience.
“If I would have quit in high school when I was being bullied, I wouldn’t have done the program at Austin Community College and wouldn’t have been at the job that I really like so much,” Leticia Trujillo said.
Trujillo currently works as an automotive technician and graduated from Austin Community College in May 2018 with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive Technology and Outdoor Powered Equipment. Trujillo also received an Automotive Advanced Technical Certificate in May 2019.
Ashly Mattke, an engineering student at ACC and Ashley Carter, a ACC Fire Academy graduate both share how sexual harassment exists in STEM related careers.
“They don’t play at my company at all, they immediately make sure that you are OK. My boss is always checking on me, and he does not have to do that,” Mattke said
“I personally have never experienced it, not to say that it does not exist because I am almost positive it does. I’ve just never heard of any sexual harassment within the fire service,” Carter said
.All three ACC students shared about the support they’ve received in their classes, by their professors, or their classmates and how it made them feel through their career journey.
“The teachers at Austin Community College are amazing, I haven’t had any issues and they are always so encouraging and suggest different opportunities like NASA,” Mattke said.
“There were only 61 in my cadet class at Austin Community College, but there were many other women instructors that I’ve come across and they have given me nothing but support as well, and it’s just a crazy awesome environment to be a part of,” Carter said.
“I really hope that wherever they are they are at a place that includes them, dive in and just keep looking for opportunities, just because you encounter a bad place that does not mean they are all that way, so I would keep searching,” Trujillo said.
“Girl just do it, like honestly put that work in and get it done because this is such a rewarding career field and I have zero regrets choosing this as a career,” Carter said.